Danger: Electronic cigarettes can blow more than smoke
By Timothy Johnson, Edwards AFB Fire and Emergency Services
/ Published August 20, 2014
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
According to a 2014 Center for Disease Control report, cigarette smoking in our nation has reportedly been the cause of nearly 480,000 deaths, with more than 41,000 of these deaths caused by secondhand smoke. In an attempt to lower or eliminate the death tolls involving cigarette use, electronic companies have invented smokeless cigarettes and vaporizers filled with a nicotine solution that creates a similar effect that smokers are familiar with. These smokeless cigarettes are called electronic cigarettes, also known as E-cigs, and although they may be an alternative to the dangerous habit of smoking cigarettes, they too have dangers involved with their use.
E-cigs require the use of an electronic charge that allows the nicotine to burn into a vapor, which is inhaled causing an effect similar to cigarette smoke. Inside these units you will find a rechargeable battery that usually limits the times to which a person can inhale while using an E-cig. When dealing with any rechargeable battery, there is always safety precautions involved. Cellular phones, two-way radios and many hobby-related items have caused injuries, started fires and even explosions due to the incorrect charging of the batteries involved with these products.
Some rechargeable batteries require the termination of a power source at the completion of the charging cycle. Others require that they charge in a well-ventilated area should a battery become compromised. Or, if a battery is being charged inside the equipment, that equipment should be place on a non-combustible surface should it catch on fire. Power cord reliability has been a related cause for most fires and explosions involving rechargeable batteries.
Power cords that are not properly UL Listed for use, aftermarket cords which may not have been rated, and power cords belonging to other equipment has also caused some rechargeable batteries to become compromised.
To prevent the Edwards Air Force Base community from becoming unsafe, the Edwards Fire Department would like to address a few E-Cig safety tips that will protect our two Ps, "People and Property!"
- When purchasing an electronic cigarette or vaporizer, ensure the unit has a UL Listed charging cord certified for the charging of the device
- Should your certified charger become inoperative, ensure you replace it with a Branded UL Listed charger in its place
- Ensure you have plugged the charging unit into a wall outlet and not into any power strips
- Observe and follow all recommended charging cycles of the rechargeable batteries
- Additionally, do not allow the E-cig or vaporizer to charge overnight
- Do not charge an E-cig/vaporizer on combustible surfaces or near any flammable material
- Absolutely do not allow any device to be charged on or near a bed, between pillows, or on any furniture items
- To understand the complete Tobacco Use Policy adopted here at Edwards AFB, review AFI 40-102 and AFGE MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) of AFI 40-102.
If you need more information on any fire-related safety issues concerning you or your family, please call the Edwards Fire Prevention Office at (661) 277-3643 or 277-3124 and we will surely be happy to assist you.